Medical Update: COVID-19 scare after student gathering on the week of Integration

by Samaya Anjum

On the morning of the fifth day of the Integration Week, an unofficial information about the outbreak of a coronavirus case within the community of Sciences Po students in Le Havre incited feelings of alarm and anxiety.

Soon after, the carrying out of rapid tests had been organized by the campus Health Ambassadors for students unregistered with the French Social Security, conducted at classroom B5+B7 from 12 to 3 PM, while others were accompanied to pharmacies for testing by volunteers. At least one case of Covid-19 has since been confirmed, sources inform. The incidence of the transmission is assumed to have been at either a social gathering on Tuesday, or a birthday celebration on Wednesday evening. However, those who have attended events such as the SPE Green Tour on Wednesday morning have also been encouraged to get tested as a precautionary measure by the respective members of the Association.

Students who have been tested covid positive or remain highly vulnerable, especially on account of being unvaccinated, have been encouraged to refrain from visiting the university premises or attending social events and activities.

In response to the situation, Health Ambassadors, Association Presidents and the Year Representative have released the following information:

“Dear Healthy Mushus,

We hope you’re enjoying a brilliant integration week so far. In light of recent developments, the health ambassadors, year rep and presidents of associations wish to share a few reminders and words of reassurance with you.

What happens if I test positive?
Should you test positive, we would like to remind you to inform Ms. Droszewski as well as your teachers at once. Ms. Droszewski will then forward you to the relevant French authorities, who will carry out contact tracing and provide support as required.

In challenging times like these, testing positive is an entirely normal situation that is to be expected in a community like ours. We’re all students, so many of us enjoy socializing and meeting new people! There is not, and should not be, any stigma surrounding testing positive, and alerting your community to your COVID status is a mark of responsibility.

You are always welcome and highly encouraged to inform your close contacts and the wider community as a whole if you wish to do so. The Admin and the Year Rep/ Health Ambassadors will keep you updated about the number of confirmed and verified cases on campus. Associations will also be carefully monitoring the situation and will make any changes to planned initiatives and club activities as necessary. All changes will be communicated to you clearly and promptly.

What should I do if my friend tests positive?
According to the Health Ministry of France, if you test positive for Covid-19: You are supposed to be quarantined for a period of ten days, pursuant to the instructions given by the health care system. If you have been in contact with someone (e.g. a coloc, close friend etc.) who has tested positive, as per Ms. Droszewski’s email on Friday morning: If you are vaccinated, you are not considered a “close contact” and do not need to self-isolate. You will be permitted to come to campus. If you have symptoms but are unsure of your Covid status, we would encourage you to take a test as soon as possible and take the necessary follow-up actions as stated above. If you are unvaccinated, you are considered a close contact case and have to stay in confinement for 10 days.

How can I get information surrounding COVID on campus?
Over the course of the past week, we have noticed some heated debate over often unconfirmed and at times untrue speculation. Following our discussion with the administration, they have agreed to release case numbers within the Sciences Po Le Havre community with students, with the hopes of painting a transparent and accurate picture of the sanitary situation on campus. In that same spirit, we ask that you limit your messages on official groups to information that has been released by official sources (i.e. admin, health ambassadors, year rep or association presidents) or confirmable observations you have made firsthand, in order to prevent the spread of misinformation.

While communicating about your own situation is encouraged and can greatly help the community, please do not share any personal information about other students on campus. We remind you that collecting or publishing information regarding another student’s health condition is forbidden.

Who can I turn to for questions/advice?
We understand that these can be uncertain and at times trying times. Should you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to get in touch with the health ambassadors (@Hygenia Eyes on Facebook or @health_team_lh on Instagram) and the YearRep (@janhvi_lhyearrep). In addition, the health team on campus is also at your disposal.

Please email Alexandra GRAVIER for appointments with the GP and the Psychologist. There is no need to make an appointment to see the nurse.​​ There are also Auto-Tests available on campus with the nurse which you can get if you have any symptoms or you are a contact person. In addition, we are preparing an initiative to provide material support (shopping, etc.) to any of you who are in isolation, as well as advisory guidelines and resource lists. Please stay tuned to future announcements and please follow the advisory for safety. In the meantime, we urge you to respect all recommended sanitary measures and to never hesitate to get tested (and share your results) as a precautionary measure. We look forward to organizing a safe and enjoyable campus experience for you all.

Kind regards,
Your health ambassadors (Emma, Malavika and Pietro), year rep (Janhvi) and association presidents (Marie, Elisa, Ugo, Mason, and the SPE Team).”

Author: Le Dragon Déchaîné

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